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Facebook Bug Changed Privacy Settings of Up to 14 Million Users

08 June, 2018, 02:52 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Well shucks

Facebook said a software bug was behind the glotch which saw users' private posts made public over several days last month.

But, for four days in May, the bug ignored user preferences and set the default audience for all new posts to "public", the company said. Your secrets are safe - unless someone saw them, of course.

The bug was active from May 18th to May 22nd, but it took Facebook until May 27th to switch people's status composer privacy setting back to what it was before the issue. Someone can, for example, share a post with only a limited group of family and friends, or decide to make a post public so that anyone, including people not logged on to Facebook, can see it. To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before - and they could still choose their audience just as they always have.

How did this happen?

It is still unclear how numerous 14 million profiles that were affected may have posted content privately without realizing they were sharing publicly.

Facebook, which said it discovered the bug, has not yet shared details about who may have accessed the exposed data, or how that access may have occurred.


The problem, which Facebook said it has fixed, is the latest privacy scandal for the world's largest social media company. During that time, the privacy settings on some users' posts were changed to public without any warning.

The news followed a recent furor over Facebook's sharing of user data - oversharing, in the eyes of many critics.

A Facebook spokesperson said the notification is the start of new proactive and transparent way for the company to handle issues going forward.

Facebook's 2011 consent decree with the FTC calls for the company to get "express consent" from users before sharing their information beyond what they established in their privacy settings.

A Facebook booth is seen at the China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, on May 27, 2018.

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